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EUROSAI Declaration on the Independence of the SAIs (1999)
D E C L A R A T I O N
on the Independence of the SAIs

Adopted at the 4th Congress of the European Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions
(EUROSAI)
4 June 1999

In the INTOSAI Lima Declaration (1977) the SAIs reaffirmed their commitment to independence, which is an indispensable condition for the efficient auditing of proper public accounts management.

Since then, there have been numerous social, technological and political changes. In particular, the opening up to democracy of the Countries of Central and Eastern Europe has renewed demands for independence and transparency. Decentralisation, privatisations, and deregulations have all changed public sector management.

It is for this reason that the members of EUROSAI, having met in the Lisbon Seminar (1998) and following their Paris Congress (1999), reaffirm that independence today rests on the following principles:

1. The SAIs must have the necessary resources for being fully independent.

The independence of the SAIs must be based on constitutional or legislative provisions that set down their institutional nature within the public powers. Independence also depends on the guarantees granted to the Presidents of the SAIs, so that they might perform their tasks in a sufficiently stable setting. Protection is needed against outside pressure, along with clearly defined powers of investigation when it comes to safeguarding the independence of auditors.

The SAIs must have sufficient resources at their disposal so that they can carry out their tasks. Budgetary autonomy constitutes another factor that can promote genuine independence.
Finally in order to be fully independent, the SAIs must be free when it comes to planning and performing audits as they see fit.

2. Independence goes hand in hand with responsibility, which is manifested in various ways, depending on the institutional framework of the country.

The SAIs must comply with the same rules as they recommend others to introduce.

They must therefore establish internal audit procedures for ensuring the efficacy of their own work. Internal audits must be structured in such a way that they have the means for providing presidents and top managers with a true and faithful image the institution’s performance.. This internal audit must provide a regular monitoring of their operational indicators and make assessments of the results of audit controls that the body carries out.

The SAIs are becoming increasingly subject to external audits. This procedure offers the public a guarantee that the SAIs use appropriate work methods and it must not imply any challenge to their independence.

By means of publishing their budgetary performance reports and the reports on audit activities, and by means of these being sent to the Parliament, the SAIs must furnish the highest degree of transparency in matters related to the way in which they use the resources available and the results they have achieved.

3. Relationships with the communications media as another indicator of the independence of the SAIs.

The freedom of the SAIs to define their own communications policy with the media and the public within the existing legal and regulating frameworks is an essential component of their independence and efficacy. It must be assured that their communication process provides a fair and impartial view of their work and that it does not give rise to absurd controversies.

With the exception of those cases in which dissemination of information is obligatory in accordance with legal or constitutional provisions, this freedom includes the possibility of deciding whether or not a particular report is to be made available to the public. The same philosophy can apply to the content, medium, format, date, periodicality and channels of dissemination.

Transparency with respect to the body being audited is essential. This has to be transmitted to by means of a process where the facts are agreed with those bodies and/or by means of these assertions being published along with the reports from the SAIs so that the public receives information that is full, balanced and fair.

The public always have to have direct access to the reports that the SAIs have decided to issue, with copies of them being made available. These reports must be provided by means of various information media, including a Web site.

Responsible for the information Legal and Personnel Department
Last updated on 12 February 2016

National Audit Office of Lithuania

Pamėnkalnio St 27, LT-01113 Vilnius, Phone: + 370 5 266 6793, + 370 5 266 6752, Email: nao@vkontrole.lt.